British officials initially had difficulty persuading the indigenous Fijians to accept the prospect of self-government, so crucial in their eyes was the colonial state for their security. By the late 1960s, however, the officials were preparing to accede to a Fijian demand for political control provoked by a militant Fiji Indian campaign for the replacement of communal representation with the common franchise. The Fijians' stance was soon tempered by the Indian leaders' new strategy of conciliation which led to a bi-partisan proposal to move to Independence under the leadership of the Fijian chief minister, Ratu Mara. The rapprochement, less than 18 months after a dangerous crisis of ethnic conflict, was facilitated by the death of A.D. Patel, staunchest campaigner for a common electoral roll. The paper highlights the changing importance of international and domestic arenas of political action, and the part ironically played by the Government of India in moderating United Nations pressure on Britain to introduce the common roll.